He won’t avoid all the editorial boards…

Erin McPike, Real Clear Politics:

The longtime Texas governor has not been a candidate for a full two weeks yet, but multiple Republican operatives in the state have noticed that the Union Leader’s editorial page has not taken a jab at him in that time. And while Perry famously refused to sit with for interviews with the editorial boards of Texas in his re-election race last year, he’s already been in to meet with the powers that be at the Union Leader and granted the paper his first interview in the state.

Governor Perry goes and meets with an editorial board immediately upon entering the race. On first glance, it seems like a bit of a slap to the Texas editorial boards that got the cold shoulder in 2010.

There is a bit more sense to it, of course. The Union Leader‘s editorial board doesn’t know Perry, whereas by the time the 2010 gubernatorial race rolled around, Perry had visited many times with each newspaper’s editorial board over the previous decade…and pretty much all of Texas’ daily newspapers have cast a skeptical eye on the governor’s tenure in office.

Rick Perry for President 2012, part 1: The Elevator Pitch

Forget everything else — if you had to boil down every presidential candidate’s message to a very simple elevator pitch, Rick Perry wins hands-down. No Republican currently running can match it. Obama can’t either, but he won’t even try. He has already committed inexorably to polarizing the electorate and motivating the base, a la Bush 2004 on steroids.

Rick Perry’s message in a word: jobs. That’s it. Obama has failed on that front completely and massively. True measures of unemployment have more than doubled since his inauguration, and no other Republican currently running can match Perry’s job-creation record as governor of Texas.

While Obama’s American economic policies were destroying jobs nationally, Perry’s Texan policies have Texas going in the opposite direction. Imagine what Obama’s unemployment numbers would look like without Texas. Despite the stiff headwind from Obamanomics, Texas has been a rock of job growth by doing everything different than Obama. Since the recession technically ended in 09, Texas has added as many new jobs as the rest of the nation. To wit, over the last 5 years Texas added 537,500 jobs. 2nd closest was neighboring Louisiana with just 55,000 new jobs and 41 states actually lost jobs. Not surprisingly, Texas has the second lowest debt per capita in the nation…just contrast that with Obama who trumpets adding trillions in debt over 10 years as “historic.”

No other Republican can match it either. Not Mitt Romney, as Massachusetts wasn’t an engine of economic growth in his tenure, nor did he do anything to make it moreso. Not Michele Bachmann, runnning as the Tea Party candidate. Not Tim Pawlenty, trying unspectacularly to be a generic Republican. Not Herman Cain, even if he does have a good record as a businessman.

Rick Perry has the added advantage that he has always run on jobs. Just check this compilation of his TV ads over the years:

Jobs — Rick Perry campaign ads

In a time of lengthy economic stagnation, having Texas’ strong and unique job growth is a heckuva base for a presidential campaign.

Rick Perry for President 2012?

Every few months we get subjected to another Rick Perry 2012 boomlet.

Let me make a suggestion: do not take any article seriously that suggests Governor Perry is running for president unless it mentions at least a few facts (which I outlined a few weeks ago in Spanish, mas o menos)

1. An important slice of Perry’s political team has signed on with Newt Gingrich.
2. Gov Perry decided to be the head of the Republican Governor’s Association
3. Is the nation really going to sandwich four years of Obama with Texas governors?

Points one and two reveal the same thing: Perry has shown zero interest in running for president. He decided to forgo a 2012 presidential run when he became the head of the RGA. That’s not an unbreakable commitment, of course, but it’s not nothing. If you think there’s any chance that you’ll be running for president, you don’t became RGA Chair. And you definitely keep your political team from signing up with others . . . which happened in the last few months. So he still wasn’t considering a 2012 run recently and unless Newt drops out (looks significantly more likely after his gaffe on Meet the PRess), you have to wonder if he wants to start a presidential run with completely different staff.

Finally, the third point. Texans know it is far from the truth, but the rest of the nation would view Perry as “the next George W. Bush.” That’s a tough place to start a campaign in this cycle. Getting over Texas fatigue is a pretty large X factor.

Senior journos: Why oh why can’t Perry be heroic and raise taxes?

Earlier this month, R.G. Ratcliffe reflected almost wistfully on Gov. Bill Clements, and how he broke with principles and campaign promises to raise taxes by $5.7 billion:

I can’t help but recall the political flip of former governor Bill Clements, who won his 1986 election on a no-new-taxes pledge. During the 1987 Legislature, Clements went on a fifteen-city tour to oppose proposed tax increases to cover budget shortfalls caused by the collapse of oil prices and the savings and loan industry. It took Dallas businessmen Peter O’Donnell and Ross Perot to convince him that major budget cuts would harm the state’s future. A $5.7 billion tax increase was a bitter pill, but Clements swallowed it. “”Everybody had to do what was right, eventually,” Clements said at the time. “I think they have.”

The state is still waiting to find out what is right in 2011 (R.G. Ratcliffe, Businesses want the state spending, but how do they want to pay for it?, BurkaBlog).

Apparently, Wayne Slater took up the same theme in the Dallas Morning News this weekend. Because of the newspaper’s new paywall subscription model (which isn’t a great value proposition outside North Texas), the column isn’t freely available. But Slater offered nonsubscribers a condensed version on the Trail Blazers Blog:

Now, leading the cuts-at-all-cost approach to writing a state budget, Perry’s parted company with Bill Clements. Clements was the state’s first Republican governor in a century when he was elected in 1978. As we wrote in a weekend column , Clements was the beginning of the modern Republican Party that Perry – and the tea party – now call home. Said the state’s longest-serving Republican in the House, Tom Craddick : ” I love Bill Clements. I think he did a great job and really furthered the Republican Party of Texas. Without him taking the risk he did to run for governor and use his own dollars, we’d still be way back in a maze.”

Clements was a staunch fiscal conservative and championed lower taxes and more efficient government. In battling a huge budget shortfall 1987, Clements initially opposed new taxes but eventually compromised and signed a $5.7 billion bill to avoid damaging the state’s future. So would Clements, the father of Texas Republican conservatism, be welcome in today’s tea party. Probably not. — not in the tea party that Perry serves these days.

What is it with these senior political journos in Texas and their fascination with a former governor who broke with his principles and his campaign promises to raise taxes?

Yeah, yeah, we got it — it was “to avoid damaging the state’s future” — a variant of The Sky is Falling.

At least Slater got one part right: A pol who ran as a fiscal conservative in Texas and promised not to raise taxes — then decided to raise taxes by billions of dollars — almost certainly would not “be welcome in today’s tea party.” As much as this seems to confound Slater, we are equally confounded as to why senior political journos think abandoning principles and promises to citizens to raise taxes is somehow heroic?

Texas Monthly’s Paul Burka thinks Perry is akin to Birthers?

Burka writes:

[Burka quotes TNR article about how Trump is making dumb comments about protectionism, xenophobia, jingoism and Birtherism]

As I see it, Trump is borrowing from Rick Perry’s Texas playbook. Perry was the first extremist to emerge in this political cycle, the first to understand how virulent the right’s anger had become

As a writer and editor, Burka should know better. He’s likening Governor Perry to Donald Trump, which is simply mindboggling. That’s really the way Burka sees Perry — as someone akin to xenophobes, jingoists and Birthers?

That’s incredible. Just incredible. I’m sure Burka would say that he doesn’t really think that Perry is the same as Trump, but the fact that he would even think to make the comparision is unbelievable.

Beyond that, Burka misinterprets the poll result. Donald Trump will sink like lead if he ever becomes a candidate, because then all his craziness and liberal positions (wealth tax, universal health care, etc.) will become known. He’s essentially just an easy way for poll respondents to choose “none of the above.” Yet one single misinterpreted poll result leads Burka to conclude that Trump is using “Reagan’s strategy” and “a real threat.”

Republicans are in big trouble this election cycle–not here, because we have precisely the Republican constituency that will consume all the radicalism that’s fit for consumption–but in the rest of America. Unless something changes in the Republican field for 2012, or in the country,

Is this any different than 2003/2004, when a huge portion of the Democratic base blamed Bush for anything and everything and frequently likened him to Hitler? As far as I can tell, the biggest difference is that the media briefly took Rathergate seriously (until it was so thoroughly debunked that no one could believe it), whereas the media doesn’t take Birtherism seriously.